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Abish, Walter

(US, 1931– )

Born in Vienna, Abish lived in China and Israel before taking US citizenship in 1960. Formerly a city planner, he has been a full-time writer and holder of various visiting professorships since 1975. Begin with How German is it? (1979), which evokes tensions between contemporary appearances and historical realities in affluent post-war Germany. His first novel, the challengingly experimental Alphabetical Africa (1974), draws attention to the arbitrariness of language by restricting each chapter to words beginning solely with single, successive letters of the alphabet. Abish's other works include Eclipse Fever (1993), a complex narrative of defective relationships, which reflects the collision of modern materialism and traditional values in its Mexican setting.

Robert Coover, Thomas Pynchon  DH

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